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Should I "put the hard disk to sleep when possible"?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by alexf, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Hi Everyone,

    Just a quick question:

    What are the advantages / disadvantages to checking the "Put the hard disk to sleep when possible" option in the Energy Saver?

    Will this affect performance at all on my G5? I am running system 10.3.5.

  2. macrumors G3


    Go ahead and try it, it won't break anything. Chances are that the delay will drive you up the wall when it spins back up, and you'll be turning it right back off again.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Thanks for the reply.

    If I will be leaving the computer on all night, is it a good idea to check this option, meaning will it save a good deal of energy, or does the hard disk spin down automatically anyway after not being used for a few hours?
  4. macrumors 601


    it might disadvatage your G5 by having slower HD read speeds when it has to spin up again.

    but the advantages are that you'll be saving energy, and you might have less drive wear. although that last point is debatable. some people argue that it's better for your hardware to leave it on, then there's no stress on components when the turn on again. but i wouldn't worry about it.

    i sleep the hard drives on my PB, both internal and external FW HD's.

    i'm not sure if it spins down by itself. :confused: best to be safe and turn on 'sleep HD's' only at night if you want...
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Thanks, that's good advice.

    What exactly happens when a hard drive "sleeps", anyway? Does it actually stop spinning?

    I am also "breaking in" a new computer, and am leaving it on for awhile. I am not sure if I should prevent the hard disk from going to sleep (by unchecking the option) in order to help break that part in also...

    Or is the whole "breaking in" thing just a myth anyway? :confused:
  6. macrumors 68040


    chances are it will not even be effective :rolleyes: i mean, the spindown happens after 10 minutes of disk inactivity, so should you have left mail.app running and checking for email, there is always too much activity for the hard drive to sleep.

    system drive, that is. if you have other hard drives, they will sleep when not needed.
  7. macrumors 601


    whoa! 'break-in'? :eek: :confused:

    this isn't like a new car or anything, you don't have to worry about 'breaking-in' your Mac. :p well, unless you've got a laptop, you do have to calibrate the battery... but you'd know that if you had a laptop and had just read the manual anyway. don't worry about 'breaking-in' just use it as you normally would. :)

    when the HD 'sleeps' i think that it does just spin down.

    JFreak, so all HD's (internal & external ?) do spin down by themselves after 10 minutes? if that's correct, then i guess you only need to use 'sleep HD's' if you want even better energy saving.
  8. macrumors 68040


    yes, there are several states how a hard disk can save energy, the best of all being a full spindown. if the option is selected, every hard drive that has not had any disc activity in 10 minutes will spin down; so the spindown of a system drive is unlikely, but once you use external hard drives with this option selected, the spindown is almost too easy to notice.

    this spindown time is fortunately adjustable if you know how to tweak your unix ;) for less tech-oriented, it can also be tweaked with Cocktail app via a simple gui...
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Perhaps "break-in" is not the correct word.

    I have read that when you get a new Mac you should let the computer run for awhile - and then start adding apps slowly, one by one, as opposed to all at once.

    According to what I read, this may prevent future problems down the road.

    EDIT: I am going to start a new post with this question, as it seems more appropriate... I hope this does not count as cross-posting!
  10. macrumors 603


    slowly installing apps is a good idea, for troubleshooting: if something goes wrong, you know exactly which installation caused the problem... i've seen people install half a dozen shareware apps all at once, and when suddenly their machine hangs at shutdown, they have no idea which one caused it.

    But breaking in the machine... unnecessary. All that's going to happen is that the insides will get warm and toasty. BUT, there are certain cronjobs that run at night, maintenance scripts that will not run unless your computer is on and awake at night... so i leave my machine up 24/7 for that purpose. I know I can use an alternate utility to run these, but it's nice to know it's being handled automatically.

    As for spinning disks. I wish there was a way to make the drives sleep ONLY between midnight and 7AM... at night, the drives might as well spin down, but during the day, it's really annoying to have to wait for my disks to spin up every time I want to save a file or something.

  11. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    That would make an excellent freeware/shareware app, but I can't find one which does it currently - although it might be a setting within a larger app (I know there are a lot of tweaking apps out there, but I don't use them, so I'm not familiar with what some of the more robust ones can do).
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Thanks for the information. I think I may start a new posting with this break in question, as I'm curious to know what other people think (although you are probably right and everything you say makes sense).

    Forgive me for stating the obvious, but why don't you just check the "put hard disk to sleep" option before retiring for the night, and then uncheck it when you resume the working day?
  13. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    A related good idea is to backup between installs, or at least make a backup of your Preferences folder (go to your account->Library, right [or control] click on the "Preferences" folder, and make an archive of it). Since so many problems stem from bad/corrupted prefs files, it can't hurt to keep a few backups available. Disk space is cheap, and the whole folder can be backed up in relatively little space. I'd keep at least two versions around - and preferably offline as well (CD/DVD and/or another hard drive).
  14. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    Well, of course you can do this, but it'd be so much nicer to have it done for you, automatically. Otherwise, you'd need to know beforehand when the last time you'd be using the Mac would be each night.

    I don't spin my main drive down, ever, and the secondary one spins down and isn't normally an issue. But some people would want to spin down all drives, I suppose.
  15. macrumors 6502a


    Thanks, JSW.

    One more related question, since you seem to be more knowledgeable than I am about these kind of things:

    I have a G5 2.0GHz Mac. Is there any reason not to have the processor performance setting (also in the energy saver control panel) set to "Automatic"?

    Will general performance be better with "Highest" selected, or does the the computer do a good enough job of sensing when the processor is really needed and when it isn't?

    Conserving energy is also important to me, and I would like to find a nice balance between conservation and performance.
  16. macrumors 68000


    Well if conservation of energy is a concern that I would think that just leaving it on Automatic for the performance setting. If you're doing something that requires a lot of processor performance, then switch it to highest, then when you're done, switch it back to automatic. I've read that sometimes if you it on automatic and you really need some processing power, the automatic setting will hold it back too much. Not sure if everyone has experienced that or not. Maybe Apple has tweaked it a little since then too.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    I allways leave everything on on 'highest' ok its not good for my Electricity Bill I guess... but I used the put disks to sleep on my old Pb, and got annoyed each time I wanted to acces something on my external drive (wich was all the time due to lack of space on the internal drive back then...) I needed to wait & hear the drive waking up spinning like hell while OSX was showing me the beachball-of-delight (or schould I say Terror) :-S so then I quit using that... even so with the automatic settings for the processor, I only used on hot days with the powerbook, only to keep my ventilator from spinning at high levels when working on battery power...

    then I switched to my G5 and stayed with that options...

    ok you might argue that my G5 would be more silent... but even now that its hotter in here its more silent than for instance my B&W G3 ever was... the only really silent machine I owned for a few weeks was a iMac DV 400, you know the model wich got hot but had no fans inside...
  18. macrumors member

    Interesting, I just checked my options and the "Put the hard disk to sleep when possible" WAS checked. I guess it has probably been checked since I originally set the computer up when I got it last year.

    If it helps at all, I've never noticed the hard drive "waking up" to be too annoying, so I guess I'll just continue to leave it checked...

    FYI I have a 1.8 GHZ G5.
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Yes, this is checked by default.
  20. macrumors 65816


    i've had my imac on 24/7 since 1999. I had "spindown hardisk" checked for only 3 of those years. Now it's checked, and the disk is still fine.

    Actually i'm waiting for it to die but it won't dammit.

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